Tuesday, 29 January 2019 11:35

Evidence rejects water conservation order bid — HortNZ

Written by 
HorticultureNZ opposes the application for the WCO in the Lower Ngaruroro River and the Clive River. HorticultureNZ opposes the application for the WCO in the Lower Ngaruroro River and the Clive River.

Horticulture NZ says evidence from nine experts supports its position that a water conservation order (WCO) is not the way to ensure healthy Hawke’s Bay rivers.

Horticulture New Zealand opposes the application for the WCO in the Lower Ngaruroro River and the Clive River.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says the order will impact the economy and food supply.

“A WCO is a blunt instrument that has been surpassed with better national and regional planning tools," Chapman says.

"The Hawke’s Bay area is unique in New Zealand for growing fruit and vegetables for both export and domestic markets, as well as for processing. Horticulture plays a very significant role in Hawke’s Bay, and the economic activity generated results in positive social effects for the community, through employment, as well as through secondary industries such as Heinz Watties and McCains.

"For horticulture to thrive, and to continue its significant contribution to this region and the New Zealand economy, it is important for plans and policies to provide flexibility when it comes to water allocation. This is so that growers can adapt to cope with changes in water demand from factors such as climate change, the preferences of food consumers both internationally and at home, growing conditions, and biosecurity issues.

"We believe that flexibility comes from existing planning tools such as the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management and regional plans. Growers understand the need to grow within environmental limits and have been working closely on regional planning with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for years. In producing healthy food, it is imperative to demonstrate environmental values, as that is what consumers are demanding.

"HortNZ’s view is that the WCO is outdated, has a narrow focus, creates uncertainty and complexity, and does not provide for the future growing and processing of healthy food. We believe the existing regional planning process can provide for the recreational and ecological values that the WCO applicants seek, but in a way that provides greater flexibility for other values, such as food supply and employment in the region.

"Last week, we provided our evidence to the Environmental Protection Authority, along with testimony from nine experts in planning, recreation and tourism, agriculture and resource economics, and ecology, as well as from growers and water users with years of experience in the region."

About 12,000 hectares of fruit production sits within Hawke’s Bay and nearly 9000 hectares of vegetable production. Fruit includes apples, peaches, nectarines, kiwifruit, pears, plums, apricots and cherries. Vegetables include squash, peas, sweet corn, onions, potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, and asparagus. It is also one of New Zealand’s most important wine grape growing regions.

In 2017, Statistics New Zealand reported that the total GDP of the Hawke’s Bay region was $7.4 billion. Of that, the output of irrigated horticulture within the area defined by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council as TANK (Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū rivers) is 10.3 % of Hawke’s Bay’s GDP.

More like this

Hort export figures challenged

Horticulture's export revenue growth is likely to be about 10% in the current financial year – not the 3.8% forecast by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

More RSE workers still needed

HortNZ says the Government is moving in the right direction with its increase in recognised seasonal employers (RSE) workers.

A big future ahead

Age hasn't been a barrier for young vegetable grower of the year Austin Singh Purewal.

Protect productive land — HortNZ

Moves by the Government to protect highly productive land must focus on maintaining the productive capacity of that land, says HortNZ.


Gong for working with nature

A Leeston dairy farmer’s adoption of regenerative agriculture has won him North Canterbury Fish & Game’s Working with Nature Award for 2019.


Do you need an upgrade?

Dairy infrastructure can have a major impact on milking efficiency and the comfort of cows and milkers, says DairyNZ.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


Your canine crusader reckons it is ironic – and highly appropriate – that Shane Jones’ $3 billion electoral slush fund…

Funny names

Over the years, a mate of the Hound’s has always been quick to point out to him people in roles…

» Connect with Rural News